David Lynn, President and CEO, Sun-Rype Products Ltd.

Kelowna is a long way from cosmopolitan Montreal, where David Lynn was senior vice-president of marketing at Saputo, the Canadian dairy giant. Taking over the top spot at juice and fruit-snack manufacturer Sun-Rype, though, means going where the fruit is.

How long were you at Saputo?

I started at Dairyland in 1990, and it was bought by Saputo in 2001, so I was with the company for 18 years in total. I’d been living in Montreal for just over four years.

Is it any change, going from milk to juice?

We have a similar customer base at Sun-Rype, but of course there are some big differences. Your costs in the dairy industry are based mostly on the cost of milk, which is high but, because it’s regulated, predictable. Here at Sun-Rype, our key costs are apples and fruit-juice concentrate, commodities that are much more volatile and unpredictable.

Because you were at Dairyland, I have to ask: what happened to that great lemon-lime drink, Super Socco?

Ha, my boss worked on that. It had been launched before I started at Dairyland. It was, if you recall, one of the first products in Tetra boxes, and we used to always joke with my old boss about the Super Socco ads, with the kids all kicking balls at the net. Super Socco is long gone now.

Do you consider the new position a step up?

I do, for me personally. But it is a bigger role at a smaller company, so there are different ways of looking at that. Saputo has 9,200 employees, and here we have just under 400. I was really excited to join Sun-Rype, but it was very hard to leave Saputo.

What message are you wanting to send as the new CEO?

You know, people have different objectives when they are running companies. Mine is really simple: values. We don’t compromise our values, and we don’t do anything illegal or unethical while we’re pursuing our two other big goals, which are profitability and growth. That’s the focus for us. We want to have strong values while we grow this company.

What’s your greatest strength as an executive?

It’s that my background is broad. I’ve worked in food and beverage for 20 years, so this role at Sun-Rype feels like a natural fit for me. In addition to that, I’m fairly focused, not to say single-minded, and I know what I want. Knowing what you want and not getting distracted by a hundred other things is important.

Any plans to get Sun-Rype into the burgeoning bottled-water market?

No, no plans to get into water. We experimented a little bit with water at Saputo and realized quickly that the major players – Coke, Pepsi, etc. – are very well entrenched. Competing with them would be like, well, pushing water uphill.

What disc is in the CD player in your car right now?

I’m going to get in trouble for this. It’s Metallica’s new album, and it’s phenomenal. My daughter will listen to it with me, and my wife always says, “Should you really be playing that for your daughter?” Sure, I say, I want her to like the same music I do.

I have the feeling that might make it into the story.It might be a short stay at Sun-Rype, then.